Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Taste of India...Utterly Butterly Delicious!

I just don’t believe it! I finally found the story I was looking for, for many years! The story of the AMUL Butter Girl! :) I just can’t hide my excitement and joy! Oh Boy O Boy! Or rather….Oh Girl O Girl! :)

The background - As an AMUL fan and a self-proclaimed student of advertising, I’ve many a time searched for the story of AMUL’s advertising on Google but did not find any on the lines that I wanted. I’ve to admit that I was scouting for this information more than 3 years ago. Searching for it today gives some great results! I’ve pried into all the information that AMUL has on its website, but though all the ads are available, I did not find the story of how the ads came into being and about the people behind the creativity that is reflected in the AMUL ads.


Yesterday afternoon, I went magazine-hunting to the office library after lunch and in the periphery of my vision appeared a magazine called USP Age. I was about to turn away when I realized that I was looking at the picture of one of my favourite pin-up caricatures - the AMUL Butter Girl – in one small portion of the cover page! I excitedly bumped into the reading table and quickly flipped through the pages to what the magazine had advertised on its cover as the AMUL advertising story or something to that effect…and voila….it was indeed the story of how the AMUL Butter Girl was created, who created it and an analysis of why AMUL’s advertising is considered such a huge success. Actually, the girl is referred to as the AMUL moppet in the article as it is indeed, however witty, a baby who is only around 4-6 years old.

The moppet was created by Sylvester da Cunha and Eustace Fernandes (the artist) of ASP (Advertising and Sales Promotion) when
Dr.Verghese Kurien went to them with the deal for building a brand for AMUL’s butter, in 1966. AMUL’s advertising campaign with the Butter Girl as the central character, BTW, is the longest ever (38 years old) advertising campaign (as per the article). At that time, along with Sylvester and Eustace, there were 3-4 other people in ASP handling the AMUL account. Then, Sylvester da Cunha moved out of ASP and created his own Ad company called da Cunha Communications in 1967 and the AMUL account moved with him. Now, the company is run by Sylvester’s son, Rahul da Cunha. Rahul and another independent advertising consultant - Manish Jhaveri - are the ones who conceive and create the AMUL advertisements that you see today, while, Jayant Rane is the artist.

The article also states that AMUL has 86% of the market share and the Butter market is worth Rs.--- crore (Need to check this out later). The reasons why the ads are so popular are stated to be their a) top of the mind awareness, b) involvement of the customer, c) humor, and d) the product taste itself. But, unbelievably so, the advertising agency believes that the ads don’t really sell but only remind people of AMUL. It believes that it is the product’s taste and price that add to the top-line while the ads simply make the brand stay on top of one’s mind.

PS: For the benefit of the uninitiated, AMUL is a company based out of Gujarat and is into the business of food/diary products. It is one of the most successful companies in India and perhaps the best known company (in India) in the diary products industry for its business model, simplicity, and amazing growth rates. It is run by the legendary Dr. Kurien who is an icon of sorts especially after his Operation Flood movement. The advertisements mentioned in this blog post are that for AMUL’s branded butter. The advertisements are in the outdoors category and are communicated through hoardings at busy junctions in all major cities across India. The ads have a central character – a cherubic, wide-eyed, dressed in a polka-dot frock, and blue-haired (!) girl/baby who is perhaps around 4-6 years old. A new ad is apparently created every week and these ads revolve around the latest happening thing (good/bad/ugly) in the country (or local states) and can be anything associated with politics/sports/movies/people/laws/general events etc. The ads are very creative, witty, humorous, whacky and sometimes controversial but invariably elicit a laugh, chuckle or at least a smile from almost everyone who understands the context. The ads relate butter to the topic of the ad in a very amazing & intriguing manner…primarily by playing with words. The words can be in plain English or Hinglish (combination of Hindi and English).

If you’re wondering what I am talking about or trying very hard to imagine what the ads might be like, stop fretting because you can
See all the ads that have been published, here!

Here is one more article on the ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’ Moppet and her parents’.

PS:PS: What’s utterly (butterly) surprising is that I am not able to find the Da Cunha Communications website through Google Search! {:-}


Puru said...

Hi Nimmy,
Thanks for the inputs and the article on Amul. I am doing research on the Ad Agency and the campaign, and your entry did help me a lot. I have still not finished the entry on the blog, which includes your reference. Would do that by tonight or tomorrow. Hope it is not a problem ;-)
Thanks again!

sandeep varma said...

Nimmy , that was a gud read, I was googling on Amul and hit ur blog. Keep the good work

saurabh said...

Dear all, please go through the article

It is important to give credit to the artist Eustace Fernandes
I have penned this article after going through the book 'I too had a dream' written by Mr Verghese Kurien